The Night Before the Battle: Genshiken II, Chapter 79

Chapter 79 of Genshiken II is either the chapter everyone’s been waiting for, or the prelude to the chapter everyone’s been waiting for.

After denying to everyone the possibility of having anything to hide in his apartment, Madarame is made aware of the fact Hato already knows about his secret stash of Saki cosplay photos. Hato, in turn, accidentally tells Keiko about it, misinterpreting her awareness of Madarame’s crush on Kasukabe as knowledge of the photos as well. Keiko hatches a plan to finally get Madarame and Kasukabe together and to resolve that whole mess, stringing Hato along as well. Although they run into some trouble, they succeed in their goal of getting the two into the same room.

This chapter is full of something that I associate with many manga but especially Genshiken, which is this dire feeling of awkwardness and embarrassment. It’s practically what Genshiken is built on. Sasahara and doujinshi, Kasukabe and cat ears, Ogiue and the Scram Dunk event, the nose hair incident, here we have a string of moments right along those lines, and the interesting thing is always seeing what happens in the aftermath.

One of the major dangling plot threads of the original Genshiken was Madarame’s feelings for Saki, and at the time the first series finished, I had assumed that Madarame’s case would just be one of those where a guy never confesses his feelings because of fear that things can never be the same again after the fact. It’s certainly not an unheard-of scenario, particularly when it comes to awkward nerds, and I figured that it was just another instance of realism in Genshiken. In this respect, I was totally fine with this sort of non-conclusion for Madarame: it was the other side of the romance coin. Given that Genshiken did end up continuing though, I realize it would be much worse to have that hanging overhead and to have it simply never get resolved.

While Kio Shimoku could still pull a fast one and have Madarame say nothing and solve nothing, it looks like Madarame is finally going to have to say what’s been on his mind for years now. What’s clear, despite the hopes of Mada x Saki fans out there, is that Madarame has a less than 1% chance of success because Kohsaka and her are so comfortable together. You can see this even in the interaction between them towards the end of the chapter, when Kasukabe sees Kohsaka in his crossplay, and their conversation flows in such a way that obviously she finds that to be completely bizarre but accepts it and even congratulates him on his victory at the fighting game tournament. For those of you lamenting, just remember that Spotted Flower exists.

The funniest moment for me in this chapter has to be the panel where mostly oblivious Kohsaka slowly realizes what’s going on. Something about the way he says, “Ah- …Ahhh. Ahhh…..” before asking Sasahara to leave with him had me cracking up. We don’t see very much of Kohsaka anymore, and I feel like this one scene (and remember that he’s cosplaying as the trap character based on himself at the same time) encapsulates his character almost perfectly. It’s also obvious that Kohsaka has known about Madarame’s crush on his girlfriend for a long time, though it may have taken Saki herself to explain it to him.

The second funniest moment, then, is definitely Sue’s “GETS” pose, shown here. If you’re not aware of the reference, just watch this. Sue’s graduated from referencing just anime and internet memes to bad Japanese pop culture in general.

And if we’re talking references, I find it interesting that the next chapter preview for the past two chapters have referenced older series (Getter Robo Go and Wedding Peach), when the trend has been newer shows. I wonder if this has to do with the focus on Madarame, older anime for an older character.

Going back to people’s awareness of Madarame’s feelings, I realize from this chapter just how much Hato has drawn his own conclusions in regards to Madarame’s whole situation.  After all, the reason he even knew about Madarame’s interest in Saki is because he accidentally discovered those cosplay photos. When I think about it, it’s interesting that he’s never spoken with anyone else about this, not the new members of Genshiken nor the old ones, not because it doesn’t make sense (why would he share what he believes to be Madarame’s deepest, darkest secret), but because his understanding of the whole situation has been mainly his own (mostly accurate) inference. It’s just that his fear of betraying Madarame is what generates those moments of rambling outbursts, whether it’s at Comic Festival in front of Angela or this chapter in front of the crew.

I don’t know if I could call her a “counterpart,” but I like the Keiko-Hato dynamic quite a bit, I realize. Hato’s attempts to pave things over and the consequences of that interact interestingly with Keiko’s frustration at Madarame’s inaction. It’s also in a character like Keiko that I think Genshiken shows its strengths, because she’s not a main character by any stretch of the imagination, but has her development all the same. When you look at where she came from (shallow “gal” type) and where she is now, while she hasn’t changed significantly it’s still a different place from where she was. You might not call her “mature,” but at least she’s more mature.

Also, I’m under the impression that Ohno was aware of the photos (or something like them) all along. Back when Ohno finally got Saki to take some cosplay photos with her (it was the chapter with absolutely zero word bubbles in it), she brought some photos in secret to share with Madarame. Not only does this mean she knew about his feelings, but that he was on some level willing to have photos of Saki. All Ohno does this chapter is sweat nervously, but I have to interpret that as someone who has some idea of the very thing Madarame is trying to deny.

There was one Ogiue moment in this chapter, involving her in a discussion with Saki having to do with how the club has changed (answer: more fujoshi). Really, though, the main point of that conversation was to highlight the fact that Madarame comes around less often now, and to note how Kasukabe reacts to this fact. The way I see it, her surprise at the fact links to the general idea of Madarame “growing up” in general, though I am extremely curious as to whether or not they’ll end up talking about this in addition to the main topic in the next chapter.

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12 thoughts on “The Night Before the Battle: Genshiken II, Chapter 79

  1. It’s a shame that the Oenshiken anime cut Keiko out of the second season. Her interactions with Ogiue and the rest of the club have gotten very entertaining (more individualistic and not just “Sasahara’s little sister”). This chapter just made her even better, especially now that she knows about Madarame’s secret photos of Saki.

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  2. @Steve — that’s partly why I loathe the anime adaptation of Genshiken.

    Anyway, I agree about the near zero-chance of Saki dropping Kousaka and going for Madarame. I just can’t see how that happens, even if Saki’s interest in Kousaka is still a shallow, physical attraction.

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  3. I just don’t get it: why does everyone wants Madarame to confess to Saki!!?? What’s the frigging point??

    Kohsaka and Saki are in love, they are a happy couple, everybody knows it, Madarame knows it too, and that’s the number one reason why he never made a move: trying to seduce the girlfriend of your friend is a big no-no. It’s, like, a rule of manliness. Madarame played it right, striving to hide his feelings. He has been doing the right thing, the manly thing. But now everyone, even Kohsaka and Saki herself, are pushing Madarame to confess his feelings and get rejected! WHY GAWD WHY!!??

    This is so crazy. What are they all thinking? Do they just want to laugh at him? Or are we supposed to believe some good will actually come out of Madarame’s humiliation? Something must be escaping me, cuz I don’t get it at all.

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    • Simply put, even if we just say that Madarame keeping his feelings to himself has been a “noble act,” at the end of the day it is Madarame himself who suffers the most from it. He has shaped his life somewhat around avoiding admitting them, and it prevents him from moving on.

      Madarame as we know him is stuck in a limbo of comfortable doubt where by never saying anything he can convince himself that he had no chance while at the same time holding the contradictory viewpoint of “maybe if I made a move it would’ve worked, maybe.”

      It’s important to understand that expressing one’s feelings is not automatically “seduction.” Madarame’s friends, Kohsaka and Saki included, want to lift that weight off his shoulders and, I predict, to just let him know that being rejected by the girl you like/love is not the end of the world. They’re all grown adults who won’t let something like this get in the way of the fact that they’re all friends who’ve gone through a lot together.

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    • Somehow there has to be a conclusion to this Madarame situation. First of all the guy has been suffering from this unrequited love for such a long time that a wake up call is needed for him to move on. Yes this is going to be harsh and painful, but that’s just how it is. Life isn’t a fairy tale, not everything goes the way we want it to be, but still we have to move on. Second, should a Mada X Saki happen in Genshiken, there will be no point of continuing Spotted Flower. The creation of Spotted Flower was a very clear indication that Shimoku have no plans of hooking up Madarame and Saki as far as Genshiken is concerned. Third, the Madarame situation has already dragged into Genshiken Nidaime for too long that it impedes the development of the story for the new generation of Genshiken members.

      And this is coming from a Mada X Saki shipper. Chapter 80 is going to be a heartbreak for us, but if Mada can take it as a man then this will earn him more respect from his peers as well as Genshiken fans.

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  4. One thing in this chapter that hits me, is how fast the “new look” Madarame crumbles under Saki’s gaze. Despite his working-world confidence and better taste in casual dress, despite being able to keep his cool (well almost) with Sue pushing him, he has turned back into a pumpkin by the end of this ch. This stuck in my mind because I just read some online paper on Train Man that really hammered on how the de-otaku-ing of train-guy was mostly a process of getting him to clean up and dress better, and practice mainstream consumption patterns. I now see echoes of that in how Saki pushed Mada to get decent gear way back when. That was pretty well the high-point of their interaction – I wonder if the subject will come up again.

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  5. I admit it, I told myself I was not going to tearup at Ch. 80 but I couldn’t help it. The Otomen side of myself still can’t get over the heartache that Madarame-kun is suffering at this point and I hope that Ch.81 may start to see a healing process coming his way, maybe the next Angela visits she’ll try again but with a much more softer approach rather than the forwardiness she showed at the last comifest. Even though I may be married with kids myself, it still makes me wonder what I may have become had I stayed a single otaku. But I am happy that Genshiken is finally back I missed it so much.

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  6. Pingback: Genshiken Second Season Episode 11 | OGIUE MANIAX

  7. This chapter is the last one in volume 4 of Genshiken series 2, which has ONLY JUST come out in the UK. The events of all of volume 4 probably occupy no more than about 4 hours worth of time… and that’s yer lot folks, be back in September (more like October or November, though, before Britain’s bookshops bother to put it out)! XD.
    I used to get Bakuman, where every book occupied many months of events, mind you, that had it’s own problems. In Bakuman’s 2011 there was no huge earthquake and associated problems and power cuts, which do doubt had annoying effects on manga production.

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  8. Pingback: Hatoful: Genshiken II, Chapter 110 | OGIUE MANIAX

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